History 153 West Virginia History is an upper division undergraduate course designed to provide students with an overview of the state's historical foundations and development. West Virginia's early history began with European exploration and settlement, a growing sectional separation from Virginia, and culminated with separate statehood for West Virginia during the Civil War. During the first decades of its existence, West Virginia continued to be an overwhelmingly rural-agricultural society. Between 1890 and 1920, however, a dramatic industrial transition driven by the timber and coal industries transformed West Virginia into a rural-industrial society. The capital that poured into development of railroads, mills, mines was matched by the influx of a million people seeking employment in the booming new economy reached a peak during World War I. The decline in demand for raw materials after the war sent West Virginia's economy into a long tailspin that finally hit bottom during Great Depression of the 1930s. The economy perked up during World War II, but in the late 1940s West Virginia entered an era now called "deindustrialization": As mines and mills became increasingly mechanized and then automated, the great out migration began and has continued to the present. History 153 attempts to provide the long range perspective that is necessary for understanding these past and present forces which have shaped our society in order that we may gain some control over its future.
History 153 West Virginia History is an upper division undergraduate course designed to expose students to the historical foundations and development of West Virginia, with particular emphasis upon the growth, the economy and the traditions of the State. While not required to take History 52 and 53, the American History surveys, as prerequisites to taking History 153, students are expected to have a competent understanding of the major events and themes of American History.
1. Otis Rice and Stephen Brown, West Virginia: A History (textbook).
2. Ronald Lewis, Transforming the Appalachian Countryside.
3. Lon Savage, Thunder in the Mountains.
Several environmental issues have dominated the news in West Virginia for the past few years, both grow out of the historical legacy of methods and policy of natural resource extraction industries: (1.) increased timbering as the state's forest matures has sparked a number of controversies including those surrounding the proposed Apple Grove pulp mill controversy, and the proposed logging of Blackwater Canyon and other state and national park timberlands, and (2.) the increasingly expansive scale of strip mining, particularly the method known as mountaintop removal. These issues actually are at the core of numerous issues, such as (among others), the pollution of streams, silting of navigable waterways, preserving endangered species, conflict over the best use of public lands (for example, logging versus recreation), and the oldest conflict, assessing fair taxation against natural resources which critics have always claimed coal and timber companies have failed to pay to help the state pay for public services.
Students will write two reports, one on timbering and the other on strip mining. The reports should be about five (5) typed pages in length, and must be drawn from the Charleston Gazette. This paper has run extensive investigative reports on timbering entitled "Forest for the Trees," and on strip mining called "Mining the Hills." Numerous articles both preceded and followed
these series which will help you to bring your own reports (and your personal knowledge) up to date. Your starting point for these reports is the Gazette's website (www.wvgazette.com) where both series are found online and can be downloaded.
Two examinations will be given during the semester: one mid-term exam and a final exam. The mid-term will cover all materials presented to that date, and will take the entire class period to complete it. The final examination will cover all materials presented after the mid-term, and will be given at the regularly scheduled time during finals week. Each examination will count for 40% of the grade for the course.
The final grade for the course will be calculated by the following method:
Attendance is required and will be taken into consideration in determining final grades. This may be particularly important in "borderline" cases.
Students are expected to recognize the rights of others to an environment that is conducive to learning. Talking, reading the newspaper, coming in late and walking in front of the class, or other behavior which is discourteous or disruptive to intellectual exchange is unacceptable and can lead to an administrative drop. Cheating and plagiarism will result in failure for that exam or project.
West Virginia University is committed to social justice. I concur with that commitment and expect to maintain a positive learning environment based on upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. Our University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, veteran status, religion, sexual orientation, color, or national origin. Any suggestions as to how to further such a positive and open environment in this class will be appreciated and given serious consideration.
If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise me and make appropriate arrangements with Disability Services (293-6700).